Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 16
Seeking shelterBY KRISTINA SEWELL
The Santa Maria Valley Humane Society recently qualified for a $25,000 matching grant from the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation. If the Humane Society can fundraise $25,000 by the end of the month, it will have $50,000 to put toward the construction of a new, “no-kill” animal shelter.
The new facility, located on West Stowell Road, has been in the works for several years, according to Executive Director Jill Tucker. When the city offered a lease on the land in 2005, the society jumped at the opportunity to expand its services.
The outdated building wasn’t built to accommodate the high intake of animals that’s taking place.
According to Tucker, Santa Maria has the highest amount of stray animals picked up in the county, with about 75 percent of the animals euthanized in Santa Barbara County coming from its largest city.
“Santa Maria is most in need of an infrastructure,” she said. “We live in a tough community that needs more services.”
Tucker said the current animal shelter doesn’t allow the society to provide enough services, and space is very limited for animals. She also said the animals aren’t the only ones feeling cramped; employee workspace at the current facility is inefficient.
Designed by Palacios Architects, the new facility will feature a spay and neuter surgery center, an indoor/outdoor cattery, an adoption center, a retail store, classrooms, a pet food bank, and five exercise yards for the animals.
The 16,000-foot shelter will alleviate one of the Humane Society’s biggest problems: overcrowding. With so many animals coming into the county’s animal services facility, Tucker said, there aren’t enough kennels to house all the animals, and therefore some have to be sent out of the area. The new building is set to have 42 large and small kennels.
In addition, Tucker said that the new building will have a larger cattery for the county’s stray cats and will include three indoor and outdoor cat rooms, a room for kittens, and isolation rooms for incoming or sick cats.
The new facility will also provide a more comfortable workspace for society employees, with larger offices, a more welcoming interior, and ample parking space.
Tucker said the most important thing the building will provide is expanded spay and neuter services. Since its opening in 1998, the current shelter has successfully performed 23,000 spay or neuter operations. Tucker said that last year society veterinarians performed 2,416 spay or neuter surgeries—but that still wasn’t enough.
“The new building has the potential to provide 5,000 spay/neuter surgeries in a year,” Tucker said.
The estimated cost of the building is $4.4 million, with $1.7 million still needed to complete the project. If the society is able to raise $25,000 needed to earn the grant, the money will go toward completing the interior. Tucker said approximately $1 million is needed to complete the building enough to begin relocation and offering services.
Staff Writer Kristina Sewell composed this week’s Community Corner. Contact her at email@example.com.